Backups - If you don't have one expect to loose your data

Backups - The 3-2-1 Rule: If you don't have backups expect to loose your data

Do I need to have a backup?

Throw your computer/electronic device out the window, and then ask yourself do you want to get access to anything that was once on your device. If you say "OMG, I need xyz back!", then you need to have a backup solution.

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

  1. Have at least THREE copies of your data
  2. Store the copies on TWO different types of media
    • For example one copy is on the c: drive under your Windows/Mac profile
    • A second copy is on an external USB Hard drive
  3. Keep ONE backup copy offsite
    • Because of the advent of crypto viruses starting in 2016, if you don't have an offsite/offline backup a crypto virus will encrypt all data backups that it can reach (which would include a connected USB Hard drive backup)

What this usually looks like is:

  • 1 copy is the live data on the computer/device
  • 1 copy is usually a locally attached HDD (or NAS if you have multiple devices)
  • 1 copy is an online backup service: 
    • PC Rangers Hosted backup
    • idrive
    • Carbonite etc.


If you have all Mac devices, use the iCloud Photos service (but you will most likely have to pay for upgraded storage space)

Otherwise and on top of iCloud Photos: Google photos as it's cloud based, automatic from your most likely acquisition source (your phone) and you get a lot of additional features with it: Great search, highlighting, fixes and enhanced pictures etc.

A backup should...

  1. Preferably a run automatically without you having to do anything/plug in anything
  2. You should check to make sure it's running every week/month/quarter

What is NOT a backup

  • RAID array (0, 5, 10 etc)
  • When you move data from one place to another. If there is only one copy of the information on an external Hard drive when that Hard drive dies you will loose the information

PC Rangers Hosted backup

: Has been backed up within the last 5 days
: Actively backing up
: Hasn't been backed up in over 5 days


You'll check the icon in the systray (bottom right by the clock - it may be hidden in the up arrow)

To force the backup to start right-click the icon and choose "Do incremental file backup".
Note: It takes the computer being online several minutes before that option appears in the menu.
Force backup to start


If you're using a Mac, there should be two backups configured on your computer:
Time Machine

Make sure the date is recent.

The 2nd backup is the online backup

Again make sure the date is recent.

Veeam Backup - Backup on PC's to external HDD

Hover your mouse over the icon to see extra info

iPhone Backup

There are two different backups available and you should be using both.


This should be setup when you first get the device.
This will be your primary backup you will rely on in the event of hardware failure/loss etc.
Settings | Your Name at the top | iCloud | iCloud Backup
  1. Make sure it's on
  2. Make sure you're connected to wifi when you're at home/work 
  3. And check the last backup date regularly (weekly/monthly to make sure it's running)

Offline/Local device using itunes

Plug your phone into your computer and run an itunes backup.
Making the backup encrypted will make sure passwords/health data etc gets backed up. The password is per computer itunes installation

When do you run it? Periodically:
  1. Before (major) iOS updates
  2. Before buying new phone
  3. Monthly/quarterly...if you're the careful sort

What is ALSO NOT a backup

There are many file synchronization systems (OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) out there, that advertise an additional "backup" feature. Most are not a true backup system. Why you might ask? Because when you actually look at them, they fail one or many of the following backup system requirements:

  1. Not Immutable (unchangeable). You can quickly and permanently delete it in a couple mins or less with some clicking around on the backed up device.
  2. You can't recover entire folders/drives at previous point in time (usually up to 30 days)
  3. They don't backup all the files, skipping one or many folders and file types (usually Downloads folder, and/or Video files)
For example, how do each of the big 3 vendors listed above fail?
OneDrive: Free accounts don't have point in time recovery, and even paid accounts don't backup all folders without manual configuration.
Google Drive: Not Immutable. You can permanently delete that backup data in minutes. Doesn't backup all folders by default. Can't restore folders en-mass to previous point in time.
Dropbox: Requires Paid account, previous point in time backup is an extra paid upgrade feature, and still doesn't backup all folders without manual configuration

Your online backup should always be considered your last (3rd) backup and for use only in the case of an emergency because of cryptovirus/fire/theft/lightning strike kinds of emergencies.

Murphy's Law: It seems like 2 completely independent backups are overkill. Trust me, they're not. I have had dozens of times over the last several decades I've had to rely on one backup or another because of  Murphy's Law. Hardware failure, people getting busy, not noticing the backup drive got unplugged, someone change some software and one of the backups broke are just a few of the reasons I've seen over the years. Trust me, you don't want to have to be told all your childrens childhood pictures are lost, or the last 10 years of financials/tax data is gone because you only had one backup and it failed when you needed it most.

And if you're not regularly checking and making sure that backups are working contact me to setup a Maintenance Plan